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Showing posts from 2010

The Proper Way to Sit in a Restaurant Booth

Now I'm generally not one to go around telling other people how to live their lives (well, okay, I try not to be anyway), but once in awhile, I find some actions so offensive that I can't help but speak up.

I've never been a fan of couples who sit on the same side of a restaurant booth when no one is on the other side, but figured, hey as long as they aren't hurting anyone else, each to his or her own---until Friday---on Friday it became personal---on Friday I realized that these people really are hurting others. Friday we went to Red Lobster and there was a couple in front of me who were sitting side-by-side. Throughout the meal, this couple made me more and more uncomfortable. The way they were sitting, with nothing to look at, made it seem like they were looking right at me. Four beady little eyes watching me as I ate a pound of crab legs. And just to tell you, when I eat crab legs, it's not a pretty sight. It gets messy. It gets a little crazy. To have an aud…

Yam-Tastic

Am I crazy to say that pretty much the only Thanksgiving food I like is the yams? Well, that and the pumpkin pie. I could seriously eat an entire serving bowl of yams. Oh ye yams, why are you so darn delicious? They are soft and sweet and salty. I wish I could eat yams everyday. I wish I could order a yam sandwich at Subway. I wish there was yam turkey, yam rolls and yam stuffing. I wish my pillow was made of yams so I could munch away on them while I sleep. Instead of water, I wish my shower sprayed warm, buttery liquid yams. Mmmmm good.

Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner

1. Make sure each bite of food is smaller than a cigarette box. When people choke on food, the offending food is typically the same size as a box of cigarettes or larger. (At least that's what someone told me once when I was stocking cigarettes at the convenience store I worked at back in the day.)
2. Don't mix your food together, like adding vegetables to your mashed potatoes, or combining the stuffing with your turkey and cranberry sauce, because ew, gross.
3. After you're finally finished gorging yourself, make sure nobody kicks you repeatedly in the stomach. Remember what happened to the fat guy in that creepy movie Seven?
4. Don't shovel any snow on Thanksgiving. Lots of folks die from heart attacks when they shovel.
5. Make sure there is enough gravy for everyone. Seriously people. One year I was in charge of the feast and ran out of gravy. It was a bloodbath.
6. Don't tell your mother/mother-in-law/grandmother/aunt that the turkey is a little dry. Even if i…

Breadstick Secret Herb

While it's hard to make a bad bread stick, it's equally hard to make a fantastic bread stick. Most bread sticks are good, but not great. We've all been to some restaurant that serves amazing bread sticks and eat too many and wish we knew their secret. Well, I've found it; at least part of it. The secret bread stick herb of 2010 is---drum roll please---dill. What!?! Dill you say? Isn't dill just for pickles you ask? Well not any more!


After you brush your sticks with butter, try sprinkling a little bit of dill on them. Don't worry, the bread sticks won't taste pickle-y. The dill adds a slight sweetness and tang, but doesn't taste dill-ish when combined with the butter and salt on your bread sticks.

There, the secret is out. Enjoy!

Let the Pandas Go Extinct

The following is a list of all the positive qualities of the panda:

1. They're really cute.

Oh look at that, I can only think of one. If it weren't for that one, then pandas would no longer exist.



If a panda looked more like this wart hog here, I can assure you that there would be very little effort invested in preserving its species.

If you look at the habits and lifestyle of the panda you can see it really has no interest in surviving either. It  will only eat bamboo, despite the fact that it has the digestive system of a carnivore. So, to get enough calories to survive it has to eat 30 pounds of it, which takes around 12 hours a day. Even then, it barely gets enough energy from its food, so mostly pandas just lie around and nap when they're not eating. (Hmmm, sounds like me on the weekend).

Furthermore, the panda despises its own species. The men and women don't hang out, and have little interest in spending any time together. Which means they have no interest in …

Here's to You Locally Owned Video Rental Guy

Since Blockbuster and I had a recent falling out, I decided to rediscover our town's local video rental store. 15 or so years ago we went there a couple of times. It was dark, kind of dirty, and smelled like a blend of cigarette smoke, popcorn and dirty socks---the typical original 1980s video store. They didn't have any computers; they kept all their customer information on 3 x 5 cards.

It wasn't long before we were lured away by a big new shiny Blockbuster in an adjacent town. We patronized Blockbuster for over a decade.

Unfortunately, with Blockbuster I was always getting annoyed with one thing or another---just ask my poor husband who had to listen or at least pretend to listen to all my annoyances. First, ridiculous late fees, then no late fees, then all these special programs, then they take away most of the perks of these special programs, then they start up with the late fees, but don't tell you until you have a late fee. Plus, don't get me started on all …

8th Grade Purple Coat: Is it Time to Let You Go?

Here is what I call my heavy winter coat. It is a big, puffy, down-filled, grape-colored, cozy warm friend that has seen me through a lot of cold winters. Sometimes, I even wear it inside the house while I'm watching TV; it's that comfortable. Last winter I told my husband I wanted to be buried in it.

I've had it for awhile. Okay, quite awhile. My husband calls it the "8th Grade Purple Coat".  Every time he sees me in it, he laughs and says, "Oh, the 8th grade purple coat---are you really going to wear that?" and then he laughs again, and awhile later, laughs some more. I guess I have to admit, it's no longer the most attractive coat. When I wear it, I look at least 20 lbs heavier, and my head looks at least 2 sizes smaller. Last night my husband flat out told me to get rid of it and buy a new coat. But still, it's so warm! Should I let it go or keep it for a few more years, or maybe decades?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

What is it about Fall that makes me want to bake like there's no tomorrow?  One of my favorite Fall baking items is the almighty, versatile Pumpkin. Ah Pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cake, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin biscuits, pumpkin scones, pumpkin muffins, and of course, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

I've tried many, many recipes for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies over the years and didn't really love any of them. They were either too bland, too dry, too soggy, too cake-y, too gummy, or too crumbly. So this year, I've pondered, studied, and experimented, and have developed the best recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I've ever made. At least so far.These cookies are moist, but not too moist, somewhat cake-y but not overly so, and flavorful, but not too flavorful.

The Best Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 32 cookies

Ingredients:
3 C. bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnam…

Sideswipe Blade Review

I've been on a bender for the last month and wasn't able to do any blogging. I'm talking serious bender. A baked-goods bender. For some silly reason, I embarked yet again on a quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie---which is pretty much the same as a quest for the fountain of youth---most likely, neither exist. I'd given up on this dream years ago, but for some reason, decided to give it yet another try.

So a month later, way too many cookies tried and way too many eaten, tears shed, hopes and dreams shattered, I still haven't found The One. But, I did find something along the journey that almost makes the weight I gained worthwhile. It's the Sideswipe blade for the Kitchen Aid mixer. I bought it a few months ago, but hadn't really put it through the paces until last month. Let me just say, it is fabulous. 
The Sideswipe has these silicon wings on the side and that automatically scrape down the bowl as it turns. No more stopping the mixer, findi…

The Correct Way to Order at Subway

INITIAL ORDER:
When first greeted by a Subway sandwich artist, state the type of sandwich you'd like, the size, the type of bread, whether you want cheese, and whether you want it toasted. (e.g., 6" Veggie on wheat, no cheese, not toasted)

FOLLOW-UP ORDER:
After being asked:"What would you like on your sandwich?" begin listing the items you want, in the order you would like them added (e.g., lettuce, tomato, pickles, etc.). Do not tell the artist what you don't want. This is confusing. Scientific studies have shown that when you tell someone not to do something, they focus on the something, not the not. Like when you tell yourself not to eat a cookie. Suddenly, all you can think about is cookies, until you end up eating an entire bag. Same goes for the sandwich artist, when you tell him no pickles, all he can think about is pickles. And if all that isn't enough to convince you, years ago I met a Subway sandwich artist who worked with a guy who had met Jared…

Obscure Parts of Me are Looking Old

Here's a conversation I had with my 5 year old last week:

Son: Mom, it seems like you're getting old. Old like a grandma.
Me: (Working hard not to get upset) Why do you say that?
Son: I saw some parts on you that look old.
Me: What parts? (Hundred different possibilities go through my mind in an instant.)
Son: Those parts (points to my legs---not one of the hundred possibilities I imagined).
Me: Where?!??
Son: Under your knees. You're getting old, old, old like a grandma, and I'm newer.
Me: No, no. It's just the light. They're fine.

So I dismissed his comments without further thought. But today I discovered what he was talking about. When I straighten my leg, I can see a one inch section to the upper right of my knee cap that has become really old looking. Old, old, old like a grandma. Here's a simulation. Sorry the picture's so small.

I never thought about my knees looking old. I think about other areas getting old every time I look in the mirror. Now I have …

Great New Beverage Idea!

I'm in the middle of creating a new series of carbonated beverages. My lineup includes three different varieties. The flagship product is a delicious tasting cola with a good amount of caffeine, 800 milligrams of Ibuprofen, and a splash of Prozac. I call it "PMS Defender". The second beverage contains all those same ingredients, but has a perfectly balanced taste combination of Devil's Food Cake, Lucky Charms, and sugar cookies. It's called "IDon'tGiveaCrap." The third beverage tastes like cheeseburgers, chili dogs and Doritos and is called "IHateEverybody".

The drinks will be primarily marketed to women, but men are more than welcome to enjoy them. I know several men personally who would benefit a great deal from drinking these beverages.

Zevia Review. Apparently, even Oprah can be wrong.

There was a little blurb in Oprah magazine this month about a new soda containing the sweetener Stevia. It says the soda, "...contains no calories, no sugar, no aftertaste, no artificial anything...it's delicious." You can imagine my excitement. Finally, a delicious tasting diet beverage with no aftertaste! I went to three different stores and couldn't find it. I finally found it in a grocery store about four cities to the north. I already had high expectations, because hello, Oprah, and then after I discovered it cost nearly a dollar a can, my expectations went even higher.

I wanted to try the Zevia cola, because without the caffeine, really, what's the point of a diet soda, but the store only carried the root beer, black cherry, and lemon-lime, so I bought the root beer.

I followed the Zevia directions and chilled the root beer---overnight in the refrigerator. I was nervously excited as I cracked one open. Could it really taste that good I wondered? I took a si…

I'm Co-Dependent on the Internet

Well Google, I hope you're happy. You've accomplished your goal. I am officially co-dependent on the Internet. Yes. I am, as the dictionary puts it: "...psychologicallydependentonthe [Internet] inanunhealthyway."  

The other day, I was sitting right by a window when someone asked, oh, is it raining? Then I said, hold on let me see. And then instead of just looking out the window to check, I turned to my computer and opened up my iGoogle home page weather gadget. Scary. I really don't think I'd survive more than say 3 days without the Internet.

Curly Fries Ruined our Economy

Through intensive and exhaustive speculation, I've concluded that the curly fry is to blame for our current economic condition. Not because if its mere existence (although it's un-tasty existence is to blame for a number of other problems), but because if its exclusivity.

The curly fry co-existed for many years in perfect harmony with its non-evil twin, the classic Homestyle Fry. When people wanted a regular fry, they could order it. When they could afford to eat extra fat and calories, they could order the giant battered coils of the curly fry. All was well and happy with both the consumer and the economy.

But then, without warning, Arby's took away the Homestyle Fry. Suddenly, the perfect balance was altered. It was yin without yang, dark without light, curly fry without homestyle fry. The curly fry was now free to run amok.


People had no choice but to order the over-caloried curly fry and sit with their friends and neighbors and indulge. It wasn't long until the c…

Pillow Miss-Configuration or Pillow-Tastrophie

I miss the days when I could sleep anywhere and on anything and wake up refreshed and pain-free. Those days are so over.

About a year ago, after months and months of trying various pillows and different sleeping positions I was finally able to configure two very different pillows in a very specific way to make sleeping comfortable. Sleeping and waking were quite nice for about a year. But then last week I went on vacation for a week and a half, and now for the life of me I can't remember how to re-create my special, specific pillow configuration! I've tried every variation of the pillows I can think of, but none of them feel right. My back and neck are killing me!! I've just eaten three large chocolate chip cookies and that didn't help. Now I'm completely out of ideas.

Sometimes Hitting A Brick Wall Doesn't Lead to Better Things

In an effort to be park more safely, I started backing my vehicle up my driveway a month or so ago. As others may attest, I'm not known for my fabulous car backing skills, or really parking the car in general. I can drive just fine, but parking for some reason, has never come easy to me. Anywho, the other day, as I was parking in my more safe way, my back bumper hit the edge of a brick wall next to our driveway, damaging both the vehicle and the wall, which, much to my disappointment, turned out to actually be a bad thing.

Initially, I was pretty upset over my mistake. But then I got to thinking that maybe the accident wasn't such a bad thing---maybe it could turn out to be a good thing. You know those horrible incidents that later turn out to be wonderful, life-saving miracles? Like the story where a kid gets hit really hard in the head with a baseball, so hard that  he has to be taken to the hospital, and everyone feels really bad, especially the kid who threw the baseball.…

All Swimsuits Are Not Evil (well, not totally evil)

My swimsuit-purchase saga of 2010 has come to a happy ending, which is good since summer is about over. I have a suit and I actually really like it.  (Check out the hot picture of it below on my old friend Teddy.)  I haven't had a suit I liked this much since the lavender O.P.one-piece with rainbow diagonal stripes I had when I was eleven years old.

After conducting a lengthy risk analysis on whether I should exchange the too short hot shorts for longer board shorts, I concluded that the chance of success with the short-shorts was small and the chance of failure was large, so I exchanged them. I am very happy with that decision. Thanks Hapari!


Words that would be pretty if they meant something else

Syphilis is a pretty word. Forget what it means for a moment, and say it out loud. It sounds like the name of a flower. "Oh, smell this aromatic syphilis." It would also make a beautiful name for a girl. "Get your shoes on Syphilis, it's time to go!" Plus, it's fun to say. Syphilis, syphilis, syphilis. I feel the same way about the word Chlamydia---it really is beautiful. "Wow, look at all the wondrous Chlamydia!"

It's a shame these pretty words describe things that aren't pretty. They're most likely ruined forever. Even if they change the names of those diseases to something else, there's still really no recovering for them.

It would be nice, and less confusing, if we stuck with unpleasant words to describe icky things like diseases, bodily fluids, and such. Plus, maybe people would try harder to avoid unpleasant things if they were named with disgusting words. For example, take the word mucus---I literally cringe when I hear …

Has Rollerblading become Uncool?

I was rollerblading on a busy path the other day and noticed that I was the only one rollerblading. Then it dawned on me that I haven't seen anyone else rollerblade in a really long time. And maybe it was my imagination, but I swear the people I passed were looking at me funny. They were smiling at me. Smiling in and of itself isn't a bad thing, but they were weird smiles---like the type of smile you'd give to a special needs person. Maybe the weird smile was more about my excessive flailing. I tend to flail a lot when I'm roller blading, particularly with my arms---my shoulder joints are actually still sore from all the flailing I had to do to keep from falling. Hey, come to think of it, maybe they thought I was a special needs person. But then again, maybe it's because rollerblading isn't cool anymore, or, I admit, maybe never was. I don't care what people think---okay, that's not true--I obviously do care or wouldn't be writing this. I guess I s…

My Final Swimsuit Decision Leads to Yet Another Needed Decision

Since we're heading out for a vacation at a beach near San Diego in a few weeks, I decided to go with the tankini below. Yep, that's me in the picture. (Ha, just kidding)

I ordered it online from www.hapari.com. I'm thrilled with the top. It fits great, it covers up what I want it to, and it's so cute! Here's the not so good part. I've been wearing board shorts with my swimming suits for years, actually it's been decades, to hide Lola and Lolita (my--uh hem--saddlebags--gasp--yes, I said it, I have saddlebags.) So as I was ordering the top, I had a very cute matching pair of board shorts in my cart. Then for some reason before I finalized the purchase, had an insane idea and removed them and added the hot shorts pictured below. Wha?! you ask?
Here's the conversation I had with myself:

Me: I have three weeks until the trip. If I lost 5 pounds a week, then those hot shorts might actually look luke warm on me!
Myself: Are you crazy? When has that ever worke…

Hey Cop Dog I Want My Money Back

**Spoiler Alert! The following contains major spoilers for the movie Cop Dog.**

We rented the movie "Cop Dog" yesterday, and let me warn you, that movie was falsely advertised. The movie poster has a picture of a cute, silly, happy looking dog holding a police badge up to the camera. So naturally, we assumed it would be a funny slapstick comedy for kids about a dog solving crimes, directing traffic and writing tickets. Not so. The opening scene is in a graveyard. The Cop Dog’s cop partner was killed and his family was trying to come to terms with his death. After the first 10 minutes, I assured my kids that it would start getting super funny at any minute. “Get ready, because as soon as all this death stuff is over, this show’s going to get hilarious!"

Well, I was wrong, it actually got sadder (is sadder even a word?). At that point, I couldn't take it anymore, so I assured the kids again that it would get better and then went into the kitchen to drown my sorrows …

Can't Get Enough Coverage

I'm trying to find a new swimsuit. Yes, I know summer is half over, but these things take time. Initially, my plan was to go for a nice long tankini and a modest pair of board shorts. But thanks to my superior internet searching skills, I've discovered that I have many more coverage options.

I've reached the point in my life where I'm not out to show anything off, accentuate anything, or basically be noticed while in a bathing suit in any way. I've given up on the notion that you can "balance" a generous hip area with high-cut legs and a fetching top. Sorry people but no matter what the "experts" say it wouldn't matter if I wore a suit with the leg opening cut to my bellybutton and a top with a flock of flamingos glued to it, the cottage cheese on my rear would still be the most noticeable thing.

Also with my advancing age and dare I say advancing maturity (hah, as if), I can't get enough coverage from the sun. I buy 100 SPF sunscreen, …

The Re-Introduction of Wild Cows

I was listening to a radio program about the endangerment of wild tigers the other day and it got me thinking about the animals that don't have any wild counterpart, like the cow. Why isn't anybody sad that there aren't any wild cows running around? Surely cows were wild at one time.

Aren't cows important? Aren't they just as deserving as tigers to live wild and free? What makes tigers so special? If I were in prison and was forced to choose between a cow or a tiger for a cellmate, I'd pick the cow every time. After all, you can't milk a tiger. Well, maybe you could, but I just don't see that happening. Plus, the cow wouldn't eat me. Well, maybe it would, but I don't really see that happening either.

Let's take a moment and compare cows and tigers. Cows give us milk, which begets all those tasty snacks like cheese, yogurt, and ice cream---from cows we get leather, gelatin (or is that from horses, I forget), burgers, steak, blah, blah, bl…

I want to be your warlord.

I was listening to NPR yesterday about a story on Afghanistan warlords, and I have to ask, how cool is that word---warlord? The next time someone asks me what I do, I am going to say, "Who me, oh, I'm a warlord."

Being realistic, I'll probably have to start out as the warlord of a single neighborhood. I think my neighbors would enjoy having their own warlord. However, I may need to work my way up to warlording. Maybe I'll have to start out as say a skirmishlord then eventually get promoted to battlelord, then finally warlord. I'm pretty sure that's the typical career path for a warlord.

I wonder what my people will call me? Maybe just warlord, or most benevolent warlord---or maybe just Lord, no, that's too weird, maybe warlord Jill. Whatever it is, it will most definitely include the word warlord, because you really can't say it too much. warlord.

I'm a Baaaack!

As it turns out I still have a lot more to complain about, and for some reason, nobody around my house wants to listen. So at the risk of being yet another whiny blogger, I'm coming out of blogging retirement for awhile to air a few grievances and propose a few more killer ideas for the betterment of society.

Why My Blog's Getting Canceled

This blog is getting the axe. Why you ask? Because of Julie. Julie from Julie and Julia that is. Several months ago I watched that movie (well, part of that movie) and now I can't blog anymore. Now when I think about posting, I can't help but picture myself as Julie, with that unfortunate hair-style, all dressed up as a sad version of Julia Child whining to my husband, co-workers, friends---pretty much anyone around---about blogging, my job, aspic, my pathetic life in general. I'm getting all weirded out as we speak.

Anyway, many thanks to my two or three loyal readers---you all made it worth while! See you all on Facebook! (Ha, just kidding I don't believe in Facebook.)

Ten Important New Laws I Want Passed for 2010

1. All TV shows and movies will be forbidden to use time travel. Time travel situations create too many loop holes, anomalies, and cop-outs, and generally just tick me off.

2. All TV shows that advertise themselves as comedies will be forbidden to add sad/overly-sentimental segments to their shows. The only reason I should ever cry during a comedy is if I'm laughing too hard. I'm tired of turning off Scrubs five minutes before it ends.

3. Advertisements will not be allowed in shows that people pay for, like movies and cable TV. I've already paid $8.50 to watch your lame show, I shouldn't have to sit through 20 minutes of commercials.

4. No movie will be over two hours long. I don't care how good it is, after two hours, you've lost me. I'm from America and have a short attention span.

5. Movie theaters will be required to maintain an ambient temperature of at least 71 degrees. If this is not possible, then the theater must offer complimentary snuggies.

6. T…

I guess it's time to get out of holiday mode

After two glorious weeks of staying up late, sleeping in until whenever, laying around all day in our jammies watching movies, playing video games and eating junk food, we can't seem to stop! We're well into January, and we're still living like it's December 27th.

We've been extremely lazy, and been in no mood to do much of anything. Which is a problem because the laundry really needs doing. And as we all know, laundry is the worst! Imagine being buried in a mountain of sand and having only a pair of chopsticks to dig yourself out. No matter how much effort you expend digging, that mountain isn't going anywhere. That's what laundry feels like. So yesterday, employing my 2010 theme, I told the kids I would pay them to do the laundry. Unfortunately, we couldn't agree on a price---they wanted $10,000. They wouldn't even negotiate. If they did it every week for the rest of my life, then I would consider $10,000 a bargain---but for one time---uh, no.

Y…

2010 - Year of ?

2010 feels like it's going to be a good year. I usually start a new year off with a list of unrealistic resolutions that I never accomplish. Well, I shouldn't say never---after all, not only did I buy one purse last year, but I bought two! Be that as it may, I didn't even come close to achieving world peace. So this year I've decided to set just one realistic goal. That goal will serve as the underlying theme for the entire 2010 year of my life.

I've come up with the following three potential 2010 themes:

1. "2010 - Let my money do the work"
2. "2010 - Stop doing things I hate"
3. "2010 - Never lose my car in the parking lot"

I'm really leaning towards the first one. I'm sick of doing all the work. I think it's high time my money does its share.

I'm equally sick of doing things I hate. My one concern is that if I make #2 my 2010 theme then all that will be left for me to do is to sit on the couch in my jammies watching sit…